Derrick N Ashong and Soulfège

Sweet Remix

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Love Rain Down - A Short Film "Love Rain Down" is a 2012 Official Entry in the Palm Beach International Film Festival

An animated film based on the song "Love Rain Down" from the album "AFropolitan" by Derrick N. Ashong (aka DNA) & Soulfège. The movie follows the tale of a little boy named "Johnny" who makes a trip to the legendary "Crossroads" of Robert Johnson fame, and stands down the Devil armed only with a song...


Check out this Unite Against The War on Women video using our song "Fight On" Then DOWNLOAD the Free mp3 of 'Fight On' via SoundCloud
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Entries in Open Source (7)


Million Download Campaign - Palm Beach

The Million DOWNLOAD Campaign


Last week I got to attend the Palm Beach International Film Festival to screen our animated short Love Rain Down. I actually had to go straight down to FL after hosting an awesome summit on social media marketing hosted by BazaarVoice. I left with a mindful of creative business ideas, and headed straight into a meeting of people in the business of creativity.
On arrival in Palm Beach I was a little confused as everything was not necessarily happening in the same area.  The only other film festival I've been to is Sundance, where it's pretty much impossible to miss where things are going down. Just follow the nearest herd of people slogging through the snows of Park City in any given direction & you'll wind up at something awesome.
Palm Beach, however, had events going down around a much bigger town and in some of the neighboring ones, so the first thing I made sure to do was to literally get lost (no they didn't ask me to "get lost", I took it upon myself thank you very much). Once I finally figured out where things were, I managed to arrive at our screening just in time to see some remarkable short films. Two of them that particularly stood out for me were "Carboard Titanics" and "The Game". The first is a hilarious comedy about people putting they're all into something totally unnecessary - the building and sailing of boats made entirely of cardboard & a smidge of ducktape. The second is an ingenious & chilling animation of two people sitting down to play an otherworldly chess game with extremely high-stakes. Definitely encourage you to watch both.
Probably the best part of the experience for me, was the opportunity to speak to the attendees and filmmakers after our screening. Not only did we get an amazingly warm reception, but people were immediately looking for ways to collaborate. A filmmaker even asked me if I think of myself as a musician or a filmmaker first? He might as well have asked if I consider myself a humanoid or a jelly donut, but I was super flattered. ;)
I wound up having an amazing conversation with a group of filmmakers about the whole concept of open source culture and what it means for all of us as artists. Of course I had to tell them about the Million DOWNLOAD Campaign and they immediately "got it." It would be interesting to see how some of these ideas work in other areas of the arts. In the meantime, I've gotta' give mad love to the Palm Beach International Film Festival for recognizing & highlighting our work. Check out the other films & support creativity in all it's forms!
One love,


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Million Download Campaign - Download & Share

The Million DOWNLOAD Campaign


I took a weekend to relax away from Social Media & returned to find a flood of tweets, FB comments, messages etc. Thanks for all the outpouring of love! Rather than engage in a losing battle to answer all those notes individually, I'm going to let you all know what I'm up to it in the simplest way I can en masse:


Many of you know I've had a longstanding interest in how principles from the open source software movement, could be applied to other areas of culture. There are cool examples of it at play in areas ranging from visual art to farming and development, and of course in music. Back in 2004 I wrote the The FAM Manifesto, a text outlining a vision of how open source ideas could help revolutionize and ultimately expand and strengthen the music industry.

I'm going to spend the rest of this year doubling down on that theory. There's a huge opportunity for artistry, enterprise and society in rethinking how we "make, mix & move" music. The Million DOWNLOAD Campaign is all about putting that thought into action. DOWNLOAD & Share!



Wanna be down? DOWNLOAD!


Million Download Campaign - The Race to 50K


So it's been another eventful week and we've hit a crucial milestone. Over the weekend we crossed 40K tracks & remixes downloaded from AFropolitan! This has been strictly through word of mouth & people like YOU sharing it on Facebook & Twitter, writing articles, posting about it on your blogs, translating it into seven languages, and telling friends and family to take a chance on some new music & a revolutionary concept

Next Monday the Million DOWNLOAD Campaign will have been in effect for three months. To help us commemorate that moment we are asking you to help us make a real statement. We want to hit 50K tracks downloaded by next Monday April 9th, which means we need to get 10K this week!

To do that we we need your help. Please share this blog post through your social networks, email lists, blogs, newsletters, fan sites and anywhere else you can think to post it. Share it with a friend who would also be willing to share it on their blog, social networks etc. Host a listening/download party & send us the pics! Invite us to do a Skype presentation to your students, colleagues & friends about what this is all about and why we're doing it. Even if you've done ALL this things before, we are asking you to pick two of them to do again this week.

The thing that makes this project so special, is also what makes it so simple. Fundamentally, this is about sharing music you love with the people you love. Imagine you download a great song from iTunes and you want your best friend to hear it. How do you share it? Either you need to ask them to go buy it themselves (which is a good thing to do), or maybe you play it for them when you're together (which is also a good thing to do). But what if in a few clicks you could share it with your friend, your mom, your college roommate and whomever else you think would love it, and they could download and discover the sound that's got your ears abuzz! How easily can you do that today, and how easily can they check out a new and amazing artist they've never heard of before?

The Million DOWNLOAD Campaign not only gives us an opportunity to share our music with you, it also gives us all an opportunity to reflect on how we really want to discover, enjoy and share new music. When we hit that million mark we will have made history by showing the incredible power of an open source approach to sharing music, to put a band and a movement on the map. Help us get to 50K this week. DOWNLOAD & SHARE!



Wanna be down? DOWNLOAD!


Million Download Campaign - An AFropolitan Sound


A few weeks ago I had a chance to sit down with the wonderful folks at the "Potluck" program on Fairfax local TV, and talk about music & the Million DOWNLOAD Campaign. The conversation went in some interesting directions, one of which being a quick look at how we think about musical "genre" given that we're an "Afropolitan" band. This excerpt gives some insight into how much of the music we listen to in the West is actually much more connected than many people think.

Whether you know how Country and R&B are based in the same music, or that Punk Rock has roots in Doo-Wop, once you see the connections it's easy to build "musical bridges." DOWNLOAD & Share! 



Wanna be down? DOWNLOAD!


Million Download Campaign - Free As in Freedom, Part II

Last week I wrote about the economics of the music industry, and why it's not necessarily such a radical idea for artists to give away their music for "free."  But there are different definitions of the word.   For the purposes of this argument, there's "free" as in no cost, and there's "free" as in music.
What do I mean by "free as in music?" Think about it for a moment - why does a person become a musician? Why become a poet, a painter, an actor, writer, filmmaker or any other form of artist? Have you ever spoken to a really serious artist about what they do and the motivations behind it?  If you ask them why they do what they do, the first answer will rarely be "I do it for the money."  This is not to say there aren't people in the creative industries who are more about the paper than the performance, but I'd argue they are in fact the outliers in the creative community.
Artists don't do their work for the sake of money, though I'd argue much of society does.  How many people do you know who truly "love" what they do?  Call your friends, call your folks, ask your peeps on Twitter & Facebook, how many of them love what they do and how many just do it for the money? Inevitably a number of them will claim they love their work and it's not about the $$.  Then ask, how many of those would do that same work for free?
It's at this point you begin to get an important glimpse of the artists spirit.  True artists do what they do, whether the world is watching or not.  They create not simply because they want to, or get paid to, but because often they simply can't help it - the expression of their artistry is a fundamental aspect of their humanity.
This is where the issue of "free" comes in.  Not because artists don't want or deserve to get paid.  Rather, because they are hyper-motivated to do their art at almost any cost, they are prime targets for exploitation.  Thus, in the case of music, an industry has arisen around artistry that is typically not beneficial to artists.  I know, you think musicians do well, because you've seen some jumping around on your TV screen.  But if you follow the links from last week's post you will see the economics that underpin that exploitation.
So why give away music?  I'd argue it can be a simple, but important element of building a model for creation, dissemination & consumption of music that actually benefits artists rather than takes advantage of them. Next week we'll dig into why artists not only deserve to be compensated for their work, but how giving it away can help them achieve that.



Wanna be down? DOWNLOAD!